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The Best Kept Secret in Construction | Discover BIM and VR Tech

Discover the groundbreaking technologies that are reshaping the construction industry. Learn how Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Reality (VR) are making construction more efficient, less wasteful, and incredibly innovative.
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The Best Kept Secret in Construction

Take a second and think about the term “general contractor.” What comes to mind? Maybe someone you know, a personal experience, or perhaps a contractor TV show. Got your words? Great, now keep them to yourself. Chances are, some of them might be negative. How do I know? Because a while back, I sent out an anonymous survey asking this exact question, and let me tell you, the responses were eye-opening.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a general contractor. More specifically, I work in commercial construction. And let me confess something right off the bat: the term “contractor” often carries a negative connotation. But today, I want to shed light on a part of the industry that’s anything but antiquated. Let’s dive into what makes modern construction so exciting.

My Confession: From Architect to Contractor

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I need to make a confession: I’m not just a contractor; I’m also an architect. If you know anything about our industry, you’ll understand that contractors and architects traditionally don’t always see eye to eye. It’s like cats and dogs. So, why would an architect switch to the world of contracting?

Let’s rewind to 2014. Fresh out of an architecture firm and on the brink of becoming a licensed architect, I was offered a career change: to become a contractor. After some contemplation and tough conversations with my wife and employer, I decided to make the leap. The hardest part? Telling my mom. Her reaction was priceless: “All that time, money, and education wasted on swinging a hammer? You’ll never be the next Frank Lloyd Wright!”

But little did she know, I was about to discover the best-kept secret in construction: Building Information Modeling (BIM).

What is BIM?

So, what is BIM? BIM stands for Building Information Modeling, a revolutionary 3D modeling technology that allows us to virtually build, visualise, coordinate, and troubleshoot an entire building before breaking ground. Think of it as “measure twice, cut once,” but for an entire construction project.

We start with a baseline model and iterate over it, searching for potential problems and refining the design until we have a high level of confidence that what we’ve modeled will be built accurately in the field. This process dramatically reduces rework, waste, and inefficiency.

What is BIM? Understand Building Information Modelling

Embracing Virtual Reality

But BIM is just the beginning. One of the biggest challenges for clients is truly understanding their building based on traditional 2D drawings. Enter Virtual Reality (VR). By leveraging video game technology, we can provide walkthroughs, fly-throughs, and near-real-time photo-real renderings. This technology allows clients to fully grasp what their building will look and feel like long before construction begins.

For those willing to embrace looking a bit goofy, VR headsets offer an immersive experience, letting you walk through your future space and make adjustments virtually, saving time and money on physical changes later.

Virtual reality in construction

Reality Capture: Bringing the Physical Construction world into the Digital

In the past, taking dimensions on-site was a tedious process, often resulting in missed measurements. Today, we use reality capture tools to scan millions of digital points and integrate them into our models. This not only ensures we have every dimension we could possibly need but also proves invaluable for projects with little original documentation, like historic buildings.

By documenting and verifying with reality capture, we provide clients with a model that sees behind walls, preventing costly mistakes during renovations.

The Future of Construction

We are entering what many call the golden age of construction, brimming with advanced technologies like modular construction, prefabrication, 3D printing, augmented reality, wearables, and drones. By harnessing these innovations, we can build better, waste less, and meet the higher demands of today’s construction environment.

Changing Perceptions about Contractors

So, next time you think about contractors, I hope the term “old-fashioned” doesn’t come to mind. Instead, think of words like innovative, interesting, and awesome. The construction industry is evolving, and contractors are at the forefront of this transformation. We’re applying cutting-edge technology to create the built environment we all live in every day.

Blurring Construction Industry Lines

The line between architects, engineers, and contractors is blurring more each day. We’re all working together to deliver your built environment in the most efficient, innovative way possible. So, the next time you’re building or considering a career in construction, don’t settle for the old way. Seek out the awesome ones who are pushing the boundaries and transforming the industry.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. Let’s embrace the future of construction together! Contact my go to Building material and Hardware store in Bloemfontein. Special thanks to the DIY Superstore team for this special feature and allowing me to share my insight into the construction industry.

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